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The formation of the Rouran khaganate was generated by the regional ternary structure in Inner Asia comprising the Song state (in southern China), the semi-nomadic buffer empire Toba Wei (in northern China) and the Rouran imperial confederation (in Outer Mongolia). The khaganate was characterised by an administrative-political system that was typical of the nomadic empires of Eurasia, specifically, a structure of core and periphery, distant exploitation of agrarian societies, two wings and a military hierarchy based on the decimal principle, title of khagan. The foreign policy of the Rouran khaganate was based on the traditional principles of the Inner Asian nomads. Out of several classical strategies concerning the neighbouring agricultural nations (plunder, distant exploitation, tribute, migration with subsequent assimilation), they chose the method of applying distant pressure on Chinese domains, alternating raids with periods of peaceful extortion of rich gifts.

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